Clam Homes

Real Community Rentals

Because there are so few rental units in West Marin, rental prices are very high, making it nearly impossible for local workers to live near where they work. Driving long distances to work contributes to our carbon footprint, to workers’ stress levels, and sometimes to their children’s academic performance.

CLAM’s Real Community Rentals program is creating more local affordable rental housing for local workers. As a homeowner, you can receive substantial benefits and cash incentives to create rental units to rent affordably to our hardworking community members. An “affordable” rent is one that costs a household no more than one-third of its income.

Here’s how it works: CLAM will help you design and finance turning a spare room into a small, self-contained rental or a garage or other secondary building into a second unit. CLAM can also help with selecting tenants and offsetting other costs. Read on for details about cash benefits and the process.

Click here for a current listing of available rentals.

Program Benefits


Rental unit created by Lilypad Homes designer and program partner Rachel Ginis

CLAM’s Real Community Rentals program offers these benefits to participating homeowners:

  • Support with tenant pre-screening, rental agreement review, and periodic check ins.
  • Enhanced security deposit beyond what tenants can pay (up to $2,500).
  • Additional loss coverage for unforeseen short-term vacancy or damage beyond security deposit (up to $3,000)
  • Zero-interest loans up to $40,000 with principal deferred for funds to create a second unit.
  • Waived or reduced permit fees for certain repairs or improvements.


Step-by-step Process


1. Call CLAM at (415) 663-1005 or email for more information or to discuss your particular situation and needs.

2. If you wish, CLAM will arrange for you to receive a free feasibility visit from an architect to evaluate your best options for creating a rental space. Then you will proceed to create plans and gather contractor bids. We can help you through the permit process and ready you to receive interest-free loans from Marin Housing Authority to offset construction costs.

3. CLAM will help you review potential tenants, including verifying affordability and helping you prepare the rental agreement. Click here to view a sample rental agreement. Assistance with security deposit, if needed, is also available at this step in the process.

4. Welcome your new tenant(s), start receiving rental income, and brag about how you have contributed to a stronger and richer community! Real Community Rentals feel great about their contribution to the community, and say they probably wouldn’t have done it without CLAM’s help.

5. CLAM will check in with you periodically, and will verify annually that you are still renting affordably according to program terms.

Are you considering this for your own property? Check out the Frequently Asked Questions page.


We look forward to working with you to create a more stable and vibrant West Marin!


In partnership with:

The Bolinas Community Land Trust, County of Marin, San Geronimo Valley Affordable Housing Association, and Marin Housing